AN interesting history lesson on BBC4 last night as Camden Council’s planning department was presented as – to quote – ‘die hard modernists’ for supporting the design for the supersized Sainsbury’s in Camden Town back in the 1980s.
In The Brits Who Built The Modern World, the story of how the supermarket in Camden Road came about was recalled with Sainsbury’s eager to build a new store there but being “beat up” by Town Hall planners who kept rejecting their designs.
In desperation, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw was brought in and allowed, the documentary suggested, to do what he liked.
“We didn’t waver from our belief in modernism generally,” he says. “The structure even if I say it myself is a bit of a tour de force. It brings enormous strength and impact to the street, instead of being a rather bland box.”
He later adds the building is designed with a row of rods to have the same “rhythm” as the shared walls in the buildings opposite, a row of Georgian houses, inside one of which the New Journal has its offices.
All on iPlayer and worth a watch.